15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Western Michigan +10
Western Michigan vs. Illinois,
09/01/2012 12:00 EDT,
Score: 7 - 24
Point Spread: +10/-105 Western Michigan
The Western Michigan Broncos are my pick to win the MAC this season. They have 14 starters back, including senior QB Alex Carder, who completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,873 yards with 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He is one of the most underrated signal callers in the country.
Western Michigan gave then-No. 24 Illinois all it could handle on the road in 2011. The Broncos lost 20-23 as a 14-point underdog, and Carder threw for 306 yards against their defense. I look for this one to go right down to the wire as well.
The Broncos have nine of their top 10 back along the offensive line. They have four starters returning, including first-team All-MAC RT Dann O'Neill. Leading rusher Tevin Drake (586 yards, 5.6/carry, five TD) is back as well.
The defense returns seven starters, including second-team All-MAC Rover Johnnie Simon (114 tackles, 10.5 for loss, nine passes defended) and second-team All-MAC DE Freddie Bishop (51 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks).
I am really not high on Illinois at all this season. They lose too many studs, including top running back Jason Ford and top receiver AJ Jenkins (90 receptions, 1,276 yards, eight TD). Their second-leading receiver was Spencer Harris (26, 226, one TD), so they are certainly going to miss Jenkins.
Defensively, the Illini lose two of their top three tacklers in Ian Thomas and Tavon Wilson. They also part ways with the nation's leading sacker in Whitney Mercilus (57 tackles, 16 sacks).
The Fighting Illini are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs. MAC. They are consistently overvalued against MAC schools, and the Broncos are the best the MAC has to offer in 2012 in my opinion. Roll with Western Michigan Saturday.